By Umpire in Chief
This is one of the games I watched this weekend.
As an umpire, I knew what was happening. Bucknor properly waited for the play to play itself out, then signaled time as there was some question whether it hit the batter in the box. So, overall Bucknor did the right things here and the ejection was deserved. Now I did not see or notice any communication between Bucknor & Carlson about potentially being hit in the box, but lack of any communication is essentially the same as saying he was not hit.
However, I was with my father in law who gets easily fired up about sports and reviles all officials in all sports. He had a minor conniption about this which was fueled on by the announcers (we had a different feed than these announcers).
Now in my amateur, Monday morning quarterback view here's what he could have possibly have done better (for educational purposes only not to criticize, condemn or otherwise put down any umpire).
Point the ball fair. -- IMO this simple act could have quite possibly prevented everything. And it wouldn't have made any difference in terms of a potential batter hit in the box situation. Additionally, because it it was so close, emphatically point it fair. Verbalize calling time -- That seemed to be Servais's argument, 'You called foul' and you can read Bucknors lips, 'No, I called time' The other thing that did not go well for Bucknor were the optics of the situation. The first baseman seems to look back at him and ask if it was fair. Then Bucknor doesn't come up with the out call (not shown on this clip) until immediately after the first baseman says something else to him. This is just one of those tough darn-if-you-do, darn-if-you-don't situations, but it just looks bad.
Here is a situation that I know you all will be able to help me with: 1 out runner on second. Batter hits a ball towards first base foul territory, ball is caught. Runner from second takes off without tagging, wild throw towards the SS covering 2B. Runner goes back, slides, base flies a few feet; runner is safe. There's this player on the defense who had already expressed discontent on a bang-bang play; he argues on this one as well. Question is, should I have ejected him. This is triple-AAA little league, about 9-11 years old.
Varsity fall ball game last night. 0-2 pitch splits the plate right at the knees for called strike three. As the batter is slowly walking towards the 3B dugout, I can see out of the corner of my eye that he's staring at me. I look over at him and he's got daggers in his eyes and then points with his bat to indicate that he thought the pitch was low. I say nothing and then he says, "You're terrible." It was probably only loud enough for the catcher and me to hear it.
I gave him the full treatment, removing my mask, giving the ejection mechanic and saying, "You're gone."
The head coach yells at him, "What are you doing? Get over here!" The coach came to me between innings to apologize for his player.
First ejection in probably 3 years - I don't keep track of them.
Going way back in time to my first season doing high school ball. I was on the bases, working with an older guy from another association...someone I had never worked with, or even met. He was quite proud to tell me early on that this was his 36th year of high school baseball. Everything went fine until:
Runner on first, LH pitcher. He comes set, steps off with his back (left) foot and snaps a quick throw to first. Ball skips in dirt, clips the helmet of the runner diving back, then bounces in to dead ball territory. I call TIME, and send the runner to 3rd. DC approaches my partner...I was too far away to hear what he said, but I did hear partner's response "Yeah, Skip. I'll take care of it." He then motioned for me to come conference.
HIM: Why are you sending that guy to 3rd?
ME: Throw from an infielder goes to DBT, 2 bases.
HIM: But the throw came from the pitcher, that's just one base.
ME: You must not have seen him step off.
HIM: Sure I saw him step off, but he's still the pitcher.
ME: I don't believe you are correct. Once he disengages, he becomes an infielder.
HIM: No, as long as he's on the mound, he's a pitcher. Trust me, I've been at this a long time.
This goes back and forth for a bit, I eventually gave in (he's senior and it's his plate), but bet him a beer I was right. Partner sends runner back to 2nd. Now out of the dugout comes OC. He's walking slowly, not saying a word, but he's flipping through pages of a rule book.
U1 to OC: You better not be coming at me with a rule book.
OC (just now looking up from book): John, I'm confused...
U1:You can have the next hour or so in the parking lot to study your stinkin' book, 'cause YOU'RE GONE!
Guys like this are the reason we now have to issue warnings.
PS: He never did buy me that beer.